Aker Technologies, St. Louis, Mo., secured a $2.6 million investment in new equity financing to advance its TrueCause technology, an autonomous crop-scouting platform. TrueCause and the Aker Pest Network provide growers, suppliers and ag retailers with under-the-canopy disease and pest crop diagnostics to measure the effectiveness of inputs and drive efficient in-season crop management practices.

The financing was led by Lewis & Clark Ventures, St. Louis, with co-investors Flyover Capital, Overland Park, Kan., and Central Illinois Angels, Peoria, Ill.

“We are delighted to welcome investors who recognize the innovation gap in an increasingly variable climate environment and the potential of our technology across the industry,” says Orlando Saez, co-founder and CEO of Aker Technologies. “Our team is excited to have a close relationship with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to accelerate evidence-based field monitoring practices, along with new input and trait development.”

“We have seen a lot of startups building crop observation via remote sensing technologies and predictive crop models, but nothing as innovative as Aker’s technology to automate the process of crop scouting under the canopy,” says Larry Page, principal, Lewis & Clark Ventures. “We were particularly impressed with Aker’s early traction with some large agriculture brands, which indicates that they are addressing a real need for growers and retailers.”

“What Aker has accomplished is unlike anything we’ve seen in the AgTech industry,” says Keith Molzer, general partner, Flyover Capital. “We are excited to partner with Aker and Lewis & Clark and see Aker as a great example of the opportunities that early-stage technology companies are creating in Flyover Country.”

As part of this investment, Aker moved its primary offices to St. Louis to grow the team, work more closely with large agriculture accounts and continue its research and development efforts with a research grant the from Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) in collaboration with the Danforth Plant Science Center, Olivette, Mo., and co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, Colo.